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The Raid School Bus is kind of like the Magic School Bus expect for the part where you kill things. The universe of Warframe is vast, but this group focuses on the most complex and difficult missions yet: The Trials, or as they call it, the Raids. Their goal is to shepherd the uninitiated through these challenges as a test of their true prowess.
With the Raid School Bus being such a large project, there are many actors behind the scenes making sure it runs smoothly. There are the Founders, and the Veterans who are experts at the Trials and who guide other players through them. I had the honour of speaking to a few of them. So for this Community Spotlight, we have quite the cast of characters:
Seatbelts all buckled? Let’s get started.
(Image courtesy of The Raid School Bus.)
Can you give us a quick rundown of what The Raid School Bus is?
Venn2 (Founder): You mean in less than 2,000 words? Well, the TL;DR is that we’re a community of raiders with lots of veterans and newbies alike. We’re trying to establish a community that is a great place to find a group for everyone.
The idea is that anyone can come in and get into any group, regardless of previous experience. Some of our veteran volunteers come from some of the fastest and reliable groups running the raids on a regular basis and are all willing to help everyone learn.
To be recognized as a veteran on the server, you have to not only have extensive experience with the trials, but also state that you’re willing to help out new players. We want to provide the tools for players to learn and enjoy the raids.
How did you get started on this project, and why?
Venn2: Some of my friends and I already completed another ‘school bus’ project almost a year ago and this one started the same way for the same reason. We noticed that the forums and subreddit were full of people who couldn’t find raid groups because of their lack of experience, but they couldn’t get experience without finding a raid group.
All of us having had stable, persistent groups since we first started, we felt we should give back to the community and fix this catch-22. About 20 people took us up on the offer last year.
How about for the Vets? What brought you to The Raid School Bus?
Monskiller: I saw the link to the School Bus server on another Discord server. Since I didn't have many friends to run raids with, I decided to check it out. Within the hour I was asked to join a bus for The Jordas Verdict. Decided to stay since the community was great and later on was offered to become a moderator.
-dicht.Nspace-: I was part of Venn’s raid group and when he decided to launch the School Bus. He asked us all if he could count on us to lead the buses. I thought it was a great idea so I joined as one of the original veterans and helped set up the Discord server.
Has anything come out of this project that you didn’t expect or that surprised you?
Venn2: The entire thing. We never expected this to go on for more than 2-3 days, or include over 30 people in total. We are now approaching 1,000 members. Nobody planned for this, haha. The thing just kind of blew up and we decided to use the opportunity as best we can. Besides, that, the most surprising at first was the number of raid veterans who wanted to help before we ever even encouraged that.
Even in the Reddit post, you can find a number of comments from them, and this community would never have been possible without that. My original stock of veterans whom I knew personally was about 10 people. So in order to support this many newcomers, it turned out to be vital that for every N new members, a significant portion of them were veterans in their own right. This is exactly what ended up happening, and as long as that remains so, we can support a technically indefinite member base.
In the first few days, a large influx of new players was a very scary possibility. There was no way the Bus would work if everyone was new. In fact, I almost ended up asking a popular YouTuber to leave us out of his upcoming video because I didn’t want to risk a tide of newbies overwhelming our vets. It ended up not being a problem and now we owe half our member base to him.
And from the Vet POV?
Pegasy: I was surprised at the willingness of people to both learn and listen to someone explaining stuff over voice chat. I almost never ran into others using it in-game and had never done a raid with people from recruitment chat with voice chat. It makes the whole thing a lot easier if you can just talk to each other and don’t have to stop and type.
TGDM: I was surprised to see just how many veteran volunteers we had within the first week. The original plan was to teach new players, but that evolved into creating a community. We ended up creating a place where anyone could find a group.
-dicht.Nspace-: I didn’t expect a race between two groups to happen on a newcomer-oriented server like this, especially since players who had never touched raids before joining us took part in it: it was a lot of fun for me. And to be honest I expected the whole thing to die out after a week at most since we never planned to run buses for more than a few days.
Pegasy: Also didn’t expect 2 hour long meetings with someone taking notes the first 2-3 days after the Reddit post about the raid bus.
TGDM: I wasn’t expecting to read the notes of those 2 hour long meetings. That first weekend was equal parts work and play for us.
Since the Raid School Bus’ success has been such a surprise, how did you guys adapt and grow? You have a lot more players who help run the show - is that something you prepared beforehand, or something that just sort of happened because the need was there?
Venn2: We have found that we can handle any number of players joining, as long as enough of them are veterans. At first we just kind of ran a lot of extra raids to make sure everyone had a group, but after a while the server got big enough to sustain itself. And yeah, we only made room for other veterans once we realized how necessary their help was to us and how many of them were joining.
I am overwhelmed by how much support was given to us from total strangers. Once we realized the potential we were working with, everyone really stepped up. Some of our members built custom discord bots for us, others just raided all day and taught the newbies as much as possible. Now those same newbies are teaching others!
Monskiller: We also needed to assign moderators to manage the server. Before all those players joined, it was just a temporary setup for small groups.
Do you have any plans to grow The Raid School Bus from here?
Venn2: Yes, absolutely! We’ve discussed at great length what we want to do and how. Now that we have established that we can handle influxes of players, we’re just trying to get the word out that we’re here. There’s a LOT of people that could benefit from the community and we want to give them the opportunity to do so.
TGDM: At first I thought we’d just keep branching out with word-of-mouth helping us attract new players to pick up a couple of new players every now and again. After a few days, we started to lay out plans for how to organize the hundreds of players that arrived.
Our goal is still to help our community members find groups and complete the Trials today and tomorrow. Thanks to volunteers like Pegasy and nspace, we’ve managed to put together tools to help us moderate and expand the community. We’ve been lucky to get some attention from content creators helping us get the word out, too.
So, the real reason why you’re all here together: what drew you to Warframe?
Venn2: I was a part of a community in another game with other people who happened to play Warframe. One night I decided to give it a shot. Sometime around Update 13 maybe? Before I actually played the game I thought it looked kind of silly but once I started playing I was hooked. Within my first month I had racked up over 200 hours and I’ve been playing ever since.
-dicht.Nspace-: A bunch of friends got me to try Warframe after they saw a review on YouTube sometime around Update 15. I played the game for a few hours and then dropped it because I felt overwhelmed by how different it was. I decided to give it another go a few months later and thanks to some really good community-made guides I finally started to understand Warframe more and more. I don’t think I’d be here without those.
TGDM: Way back when in the early stages of the Open Beta a friend had convinced me to try the game out. I took breaks every now and again and was always surprised to see how much of the game changed when I would come back each time. Three years later it looks like I still enjoy it!
Monskiller: When the Open Beta first came out, me and a friend of mine decided to try it. We had fun for a couple of days, but we decided to try something else. Roughly two years later, another group of friends suggested that try Warframe again. So I decided to give it a second shot. I got hooked. So much changed that I couldn’t even recognize the game I had tried before. Some months later my friends left, but I just couldn't. Warframe has every game element I enjoy.
Pegasy: Some of my friends got into Warframe after TotalBiscuit’s first video about Warframe and I joined them a few weeks later. Some of them stopped playing or took breaks, I didn’t. Now I find it hard to play other games because I’ve gotten so used to the fast paced, fluid movement, and combat in Warframe! One second you are shooting enemies, the next you are almost flying over the terrain and the next you go stabby stabby on some unsuspecting enemy.
If you could add a new Raid/Trial to Warframe, what would you like to see?
I want a Lua raid. That tileset is beautiful, and the challenges inside it are great, including the spy vaults. They encourage skill, mobility and can be pretty difficult. Put something like that in the game. A story that shows us the downfall of the Orokin. We could use the Void rifts like the ones in Pavlov to travel back in time and take part in this event, in order to preserve temporal continuity. Include enemies like the Sentient, who are challenging without being bullet-hoses.
Pegasy: I would love a mix between the modifiers from Sorties and the raids which add some of the Sortie modifiers like Eximus Stronghold or Radiation (Energy Drain would be very hard for LoR). It could raise the difficulty even more and maybe force us to change our tactics and plan ahead more.
Monskiller: I would like.. wait no. Love to see a Corpus raid! From the main factions, it's what we need to complete the set before we move on to the Orokin and now Sentients.
-dicht.Nspace-: I agree with [Monskiller], a Corpus raid is definitely something that we need after LoR and JV. We know so little about many of their characters, some of which I think are very interesting, and a new raid would be a great way to give us access to some lore.
I’d [also] like to see a ‘practice mode’ where players can freely try out the different stages of a raid and experiment with the mechanics without needing to put together a group or use a key. I think it’d be useful not only for inexperienced players but also for veterans who want to test more advanced strategies and tactics.
TGDM: When I realized the G3 were almost a guaranteed encounter in LoR I got excited to hear that we could farm for Brakk on our own terms. I’m still holding out for a Corpus raid with Zanuka and a Sentient raid with the Stalker!
Finally, for those who are looking to try their hand at the Trials or who want to get better, what’s your favourite loadout for running a Raid?
Venn2: I main Trinity because she is the prettiest. And I love using my Vulkar Wraith to take down Nullifiers in LoR Nightmare from across the room. Finally a context where sniper usage is justified!
Pegasy: Ivara. Need to cloak half the team while on pads? No problem. Need someone to carry bombs? I got it. Need crowd control? Sure, I can put some enemies to sleep. Hek is being mean? Artemis Bow to the rescue. As for weapons go I love my Dex Sybaris since you can take out enemies and mines at range easily.
Monskiller: I like using Titania for Law of Retribution and have been experimenting with her crowd control abilities. That or Volt, to speed up the pace a bit! For Jordas Verdict? Definitely Nekros. He helps a lot to maximise the Antiserum drops. In alternative, probably Nova. Weapons? Sobek to kill stuff if needed. Spray weapon since my aim is bad or Sonicor since it's useful for Jordas Verdict. Then a Galantine Prime to get up and personal.
TGDM: I’m boring and just min/max with optimal setups. I like playing utility roles like EV Trinity, Nova, or Loki. When teaching new players, I stick to roles which can handle more crucial components of the Trials.
-dicht.Nspace-: I like playing Nova in LoR because portals are the best way to get around the map quickly and she has extremely good CC on top of that. I don’t have a favourite frame for JV, I usually just play whatever my team needs. As for the weapons, I usually take a Tigris Prime or Vaykor Hek because they’re so good and a Lex Prime to snipe drones in Nightmare LoR.
There you have it – straight from the mouths of Miss Frizzle and the gang! Thank you so much to the guys from The Raid School Bus for taking the time to chat. You can read more about their efforts and join their ranks in the links below:
Forum Post: https://forums.warframe.com/topic/690039-warframe-raid-school-bus
Reddit Post: https://www.reddit.com/r/Warframe/comments/4xzqdz/introducing_the_raids_school_bus/
Discord Server: discordapp.com/invite/GEPefhG